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An influx of Californians and other Americans has made its way to Mexico City, angering some locals who say they are gentrifying the area, according to a report.
The Los Angeles Times report on Wednesday outlined how some Mexican locals are “fed up” with the growing number of Americans, many from California, moving to and visiting the country, which has contributed to a rise in rents and a shift from Spanish to English in some places.
“New in town? Do you work remotely?” Flyers are said to be popping up around Mexico City. “You suffer from the plague, and the locals hate you.
The article outlines how Americans have brought a whiff of “new wave” imperialism as taquerias and corner stores have slowly morphed into coffee shops and pilates studios.
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English has also reportedly become more widespread as more Americans move to and visit Mexico City to take advantage of lower rents and the ability to stay in Mexico for 6 months without a visa.
“We are the only brown people,” Fernando Bustos Gorozpe, a 38-year-old writer and university professor, told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re the only ones who speak Spanish apart from the waiters.”
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Bustos later posted a video on TikTok saying the influx of Americans “reeks of modern colonialism” and nearly 2,000 people responded in agreement.
“Mexico is classist and racist,” Bustos added. “People with white skin are preferred. Now, if a local wants to go to a restaurant or a club, they not only have to compete with rich, white Mexicans, but with foreigners as well.”
The article also pointed to a post on online social media where a young American said: “Do yourself a favor and telecommute in Mexico City – is truly magical.”
The tweet received many negative responses.
“Please don’t,” said one of the responses. “This city is getting more and more expensive every day, in part because of people like you, and you don’t even realize it or care.”
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While the Los Angeles Times report insisted that “the vast majority” of Mexico City locals are “unwaveringly kind” to visitors, there remains a “subsurface friction” of what gentrification means for the area.
“There’s a divide between people who want to learn about the place they’re in and those who just like it because it’s cheap,” said 31-year-old Hugo Van der Merwe, a man who grew up in Florida and worked in Namibia. remotely in Mexico City, said. “I’ve met a number of people who don’t really care that they’re in Mexico, they just care that it’s cheap.”
The State Department reports that there are 1.6 million Americans living in Mexico, many of them arriving during the coronavirus pandemic as Mexico eased restrictions faster than many places in the United States, but it remains unknown how many of those Americans are in Mexico City.
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The Los Angeles Times says that in the first four months of this year, 1.2 million foreign visitors arrived at the Mexico City airport.
“We just see Americans pouring in,” said Alexandra Demou, who runs the moving company Welcome Home Mexico. “There are people who might have their own business, or maybe they’re thinking about starting some consulting or freelance work. They don’t even know how long they’re going to stay. They completely pick up their whole lives and just move down here.”
Demou added that she receives 50 calls a week from people thinking about moving to Mexico City.
Lauren Rodwell, who moved to Mexico City from San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood, says she’s sensitive to the gentrification issue but doesn’t feel guilty as a black woman.
“I kind of feel like, as a person of color from America, I’m so economically disadvantaged that wherever I go and experience some benefit or equity, I take it,” Rodwell said, adding that “being black in America ,” is exhausting and “it’s nice to take a break from it.”
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The Los Angeles Times reported a similar situation in Portugal earlier this year in a story titled “Welcome to Portugal, the new expat haven. Californians, please go home.”
In the article, the outlet reported that the number of Americans living in Portugal has increased by 45% in the past year, and many residents have grown frustrated with rising housing costs associated with it.